Jenny's Reflections on June 3rd's Regular School Committee Meeting
Last Monday night there was a regular School Committee meeting, as well as a Committee of the Whole (COTW) meeting to discuss the budget. My summary of the COTW meeting can be found here. Here's an update about the regularly scheduled meeting.
The school committee celebrated a number of our students and their recent accomplishments. This included students who participated in the ethics bowl, earned seals of biliteracy, and participated in science and engineering fairs. All should be applauded for their achievements!
The committee voted unanimously to welcome Dr. Peter Cushing as our new Assistant Superintendent. He spoke briefly about his excitement to become a Mustang and to commend all the dedicated educators and students he’s had the opportunity to meet so far.
The School Committee was presented with an inventory of all assessments given to all children throughout the past year, which was requested at a prior meeting. The goal is to understand the amount of assessing we are doing at all levels, so that we can quantify the time students are NOT learning due to various testing protocols and begin to have forward-thinking discussions about our goals as a district. I’ll be watching this discussion and similar efforts around the state carefully, so we can engage in productive and informed dialogue about high-stakes testing. The School Committee was also provided a recap of outside professional development opportunities granted this year, which totaled 155 days across all staff.
The Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) presented its annual report. Melanie McLaughlin and Tonya Sullivan presented an overview of their work this year which included participation in a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) regarding Emergency Preparedness which was featured on NPR and at the state level. The UDL process is used to guide the development of flexible learning approaches that can accommodate individual learning differences within the same framework. In this case, the group worked collaboratively to establish more robust plans for students around our district’s emergency protocols. They also worked with the Special Education subcommittee to address before school and after school programming opportunities for staff development so that those programs can better serve the student population. The SEPAC presented its annual Community Award to Director of Pupil Services, Kathy Medaglio who is retiring at the end of this school year. They commended her and the collaboration they have cultivated on behalf of all of Medford’s children. Finally, they laid out 5 recommendations for the School Committee moving forward including a culture survey, professional development around differentiated instruction, review of our website and policies to ensure more inclusive language across all our documents, and a focus on building inclusive communities in programs like after school and the summer fun program. They will likely post their full presentation on their FB page (SEPAC Medford MA) and in other places. If you’d like more information, be on the lookout for that.